Summit County begins early planning efforts for future transit headquarters
Summit County is planning for the future of its transit services.
County officials are in the early stages of design work for the future construction of a new transit headquarters building at the County Commons in Frisco, a facility that would allow for the growth of transportation operations throughout the county for decades to come.
There is no set timeline for the construction of a new facility, but officials are hoping to have detailed plans in place for when the need arises in earnest.
“I think it’s necessary to avoid problems with growth exceeding infrastructure,” Summit County Transit Director Chris Lubbers said. “We’re trying to stay ahead of the curve with the planning and design. It’s just a good practice to be thinking 30 years in advance.”
Lubbers said the existing facility is largely meeting transit needs in the community, but just about all of the building’s amenities have been maxed out by current operations. The facility has about 2,600 square feet available to accommodate the current 84-person staff. A new facility would more than double the space to just under 5,500 square feet to allow for the presumptive growth in staffing to about 105 employees by 2035.
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The current building also has parking for only 30 buses. The Summit Stage fleet currently has 36 buses, and the county’s public works department is using some of the spaces.
“We do anticipate this design work will allow for transit fleet growth, and growth of our transit operations and staff, as well,” Lubbers said.
Once a new transit building is completed, the public works department likely would take over the current facility.
“The transit facility project is the first domino to fall so that other departments such as public works can improve their operating conditions,” Assistant County Manager Bentley Henderson said.
In addition to accounting for future expansion, the plans for the new facility will include a number of employee housing units meant to help with employee recruitment and retention, which Lubbers said historically has been a problem for the service.
Officials also are making a concerted effort to make the new headquarters more sustainable. The building will feature charging stations for the fleet’s new electric vehicles, and officials intend to use solar energy as the primary (and potentially only) source of energy. The facility also will reuse old electric bus batteries to store solar energy for later use.
“Once a battery is no longer sufficient to propel a bus down the road, it still has many years of functionality and can be used for power storage,” Lubbers said.
The county is hoping to have plans for the new facility in hand as early as July. Those plans will provide more clear cost estimates and give officials a concrete design to work off of whenever they decide to pull the trigger on construction. Until then, Lubbers said having plans on the shelf would provide some level of ease as the service continues to grow.
“There’s a comfort level knowing that we are a forward-thinking organization and that we are planning for the future so that we can avoid some of the pitfalls that governments can encounter,” Lubbers said.
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